EDF Votes to Approve Construction of New Nuclear Power Station at Hinkley Point in the UK (Update: UK Government Seeks Delay)

The French utility board EDF has voted to give the go-ahead to construction of Hinkley Point C, Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation. The board was divided in this decision (one member resigned prior to the vote), with the board voting 10-7 for approval. EDF is providing most of the funding for the project — the cost is estimated to be $18 billion.

From an article in the Guardian:

“The construction of Hinkley Point C will create an estimated 25,000 jobs, with completion scheduled for 2025. It will provide 7% of Britain’s electricity, enough power for six million homes, for almost 60 years”

One of the selling points of nuclear fission technology these days is that it is a carbon-free source of electricity, and as coal-fired power plants are falling out of favor, nuclear is seen by many as an environmentally friendly way to help keep the lights on when renewable energy sources like wind and solar are unable to keep up with the world’s hunger for electricity. Of course there are unique dangers that come with radioactive fuel and waste, and nuclear plants are very expensive to build.

LENR might be able to replace nuclear fission in time, but we are not there yet. I think it will take much technological development and widespread acceptance of LENR before we’ll be able to seriously think of it as a viable alternative to traditional nuclear power plants.

UPDATE: Thanks to GiveaDogaBone for posting the latest information in this BBC article which reports that the UK government has delayed making a final decision on the Hinkley plant until this autumn:

Contracts were to be signed on Friday.

But Business Secretary Greg Clark has said the government will “consider carefully” before backing it.

According to reports, EDF’s chief executive Vincent de Rivaz has cancelled a trip to the UK on Friday following Mr Clark’s comments.

  • GiveADogABone

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37369786
    The government has given the go ahead for plans to build the first new nuclear plant in Britain for 20 years.

    [This also opens the door to new builds at Bradwell, Sizewell, Wylfa and Cumbria.]

  • GiveADogABone

    The Sunday Times dated 14 August reports a little-known get-out clause in the contract for HPC. The government can pull vital financial support if a similar plant in France is not running by 2020. Flamanville is in trouble and years behind schedule. At worst, EDF would have to dismantle the reactor pressure vessel and start again.

  • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

    China and ‘new nuke’ lobbyist ‘Lord’ Peter Mandelson on 10th August:

    The government has to consider China’s motivation for wanting to finance projects like this and, in my view and I guess in their view too, they judge that it would be commercial global suicide for China if they were to invest on the one hand and then try to mess around with other countries security on the next. I mean, nobody would trust China ever again; nobody would want to do business with Chinese investors ever again. The truth is that China would have far, far too much to lose if it were to start compromising other countries’ national security.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-10/mandelson-urges-u-k-nuclear-deal-with-prized-partner-china

    In the news the next day:

    The Chinese company with a major stake in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station has been charged by the US government over nuclear espionage, according to the US justice department. In a 17-page indictment, the US government said nuclear engineer Allen Ho, employed by the China General Nuclear Power Company, and the company itself had unlawfully conspired to develop nuclear material in China without US approval and “with the intent to secure an advantage to the People’s Republic of China” “

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/aug/11/nuclear-espionage-charge-for-china-firm-with-one-third-stake-in-hinkley-point

    Egg on face – a lesson in political ‘hostages to fortune’.

  • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

    Could this be the reason that the new UK govt. hasn’t already unilaterally ended this idiocy now that Osborne and Cameron are out of the picture?:

    ““Under the SOSIA,” (which the Secretary of State has now signed) the minute says “in certain highly unlikely scenarios e.g. HMG permanently prevents the construction or operation of the facility or a reactor where there is a political shutdown of HPC by a UK EU or an international competent authority, payments could be around £22bn”. Now, in the light of this, and in the light of a project that probably now no-one wants, but no-one can pull out of, it is not too fantastical to suggest that the best course of action for the UK government might be to pretend to press ahead with the project, hoping that EDF falls on its sword soon as the sheer scale of the problems it is grappling with become unmanageable.”

    http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/news/11-august-2016/ (Business Green snippet)

    • GiveADogABone

      Perhaps the scenario is that the government says the subsidy on offer is now £20? per MWh. Take it or leave it?

      • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

        Yes, that couldn’t be construed as ‘preventing the construction…’ or ‘political shutdown’ but would have the desired effect. Ever thought of applying for a job in government – the department of business, energy, and whatever, for instance?

        • GiveADogABone

          I’ve locked horns with civil servants too much to join the opposition.

  • GreenWin

    Kiss that $18B goodbye EDF. Before it’s over EDF will file BK and the whole project will end up a scrap heap — just like ITER. These nuke cabalists, dare not show a modicum of doubt re fission futures, lest their own hitmen take ’em OUT. i.e. They’re all scared STUPID!

  • Eyedoc

    Soooo …..the English are having the French build them a fission Nuc plant ….whats wrong with this picture…….let me know who’s been on the take when all the beans spill

    • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

      “who’s been on the take…” Basically, the nuclear lobby has successfully corrupted key players in all major UK political parties:

      http://www.dorseteye.com/north/articles/nuclear-scam

      The nuclear industry has bought all three of Britain’s political parties. It is the most classic example of The Corrupted Political System Pillar of The Prostitute State. Senior figures or members of their families from Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories all are political prostitutes working for the notoriously corrupt nuclear industry. They are lining their pockets to push through the biggest heist ever perpetrated on the British people.

      Ex-chancellor Osborne’s singular and inexplicable enthusiasm for championing this project at the expense of the next two generations of UK consumers and taxpayers has yet to be explained.

      • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

        Hinkley: Warnings over ‘revolving door’ between EDF and UK government

        Among the 10 EDF-linked government employees is a regulatory and licensing officer currently working for the French company — recently employed by DECC and previously an operating reactors programme manager at the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

        http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2016/08/10/revolving-door-edf-energy-uk-government-hinkley/

  • roseland67

    Rossi has been asked many times,
    His answer has NEVER once indicated a date,
    It is always couched in Terms like “soon”.
    5 years ago it was soon and still nothing,

    I find it very hard to quantify his credibility
    As far as meeting commercializations dates

  • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/28/weve-signed-a-blank-cheque-for-nuclear-power-with-hinkley-point/

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/28/im-not-scared-by-nuclear-locals-divided-over-hinkley-point-c

    Why does the implicit argument of ‘job creation’ in the press ‘trump’ (this verb is coming to have a whole new meaning nowadays) any opinion seeking to privilege environmental concerns, sustainability issues, health hazards?

    Is it a dogma that a job (bringing money home) is more important than human health?

    • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

      Apparently the plan is (was?) to store the radioactive waste produced by the C station on the Hinkley site indefinitely, as Sellafield is full. That would mean purpose-built storage facilities and indefinite staffing/guarding of same. There is no known costing for this either.

      I think the ‘new’ government may have woken up to the fact that ex-Chancellor Osborne has set up what is perhaps the worst public-private deal ever conceived in this country, and even then, hidden most of the peripheral but ongoing costs, as these would have killed this idiocy a long time ago.

      It’s a bit like returning home after leaving the dog locked in, then after noticing a bad smell, finding that it has left its signature behind every door and any other hiding place it could find.

    • sam

      A video on Hinkley
      https://youtu.be/Z44WdcPPXjw

  • GiveADogABone

    But their investment will not be worthless. They can bid into the market at zero price per MWh and still receive 92.50 pounds/MWh for 35 years. There is no financial risk, as long as EDF make the electricity and EDF need the profit to finance the refurbishment of the old PWRs in France.

    • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

      Correct – and crazy. Once the deal is signed, EDF gets the money even if the project is canceled by the UK gov (or the next one) before concrete is poured.

    • roseland67

      Agaricus,
      Kinda what I’m thinking,
      IF, LENR is what we have been lead to believe it is, and IF Rossi delivers same as he indicates his time frame will,
      What country in Their right mind would still build nukes?
      Politically, any country can write any law they want to about building nukes, how to pay for them, when to pay and for how long etc
      If it simply for average run of the mill graft and corruption for pork barrel projects like nukes.

      So, is LENR going to be available & scalable (on a nuke generating scale)
      In the next 5-10 years?
      I’m saying no, that’s why many governments are still planning and building nukes

  • GiveADogABone

    STOP!!
    A few months for sense to prevail.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36903904
    Hinkley Point: New hitch for UK nuclear plant deal
    Plans to build the first new UK nuclear plant in 20 years have suffered an unexpected delay after the government postponed a final decision until the early autumn.

  • GiveADogABone

    I tried to warn them :-
    http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/energy-and-climate-change-committee/energy-revolution/written/31857.html
    2: Recommendation:
    The Committee should investigate the above question as a matter of urgency and much depends on the answer.

    3: Introduction:
    If the above answer is yes :-
    1: later versions of the technology run at much higher temperatures that would be suitable for producing electricity by steam in conventional power stations. Is the Hot-cat real?
    2: a later version is said to produce electricity directly. Is this real?
    3: Hinkley Point C is probably obsolete, vastly overpriced and should not be built.
    4: most conventional renewable technologies will become obsolete over time.

    • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

      I worked for a number of years as a contract technical author on various nuclear sites, and became very concerned about certain procedures and the general standards of management I witnessed during this time.

      I also submitted a report to the Commons Committee, focusing mainly on the supposedly available ‘GeNiE’ cold fusion/fission hybrid reactor which could potentially provide energy from medium and high level waste materials, reducing storage requirements in the process.

      http://www.e-catworld.com/2016/06/02/support-growing-for-us-nuclear-power-industry-bailout-nytimes-com/

  • Gerard McEk

    In 2025 this plant is ready to start up. Indeed a huge risk knowing that LENR is coming! But according Andrea, the Ecat is just complementary to other energy sources…… But just al lot cheaper 😉

    • Oystein Lande

      2025 is way too optimistic compared to recent experienced project schedules in Finland and France. 2030 is more realistic.

      And by 2030 solar power with battery storage will be way more cost efficient.

      And we may hope for LENR, but it Will take a few decades from the start where commercial systems are available until LENR has grown to be a serious competitor with other energy sources (I believe)….

  • Oystein Lande

    Probably the most expensive method in the world to create Jobs. And the most expensive power in the world at an investment cost of 7,5 to 11,5 USD/watt installed el. Power.

    • GiveADogABone

      It is not just the headline capital cost of 18billion pounds. The real problem is the index-linked guaranteed price for the electricity which is double the current system price. I have seen estimates for the subsidy of over 30billion and if the system price drops, the subsidy increases again. If LENR starts to pull the system price down, then the financial disaster is really going to bite.

      • roseland67

        Dogbone,

        Let’s say that happens and LENR produced electricity becomes an inexpensive reality.
        What is to stop the populace from producing their own on site power and simply stop using nuke supplied grid power?
        The nuke supplier income is drastically reduced, ( based in previously agreed to $),
        So the public is simply “taxed” to make up the difference?

        • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus

          Yes. As I understand it, the ‘contract for difference’ is based on a notional availability of 85% of capacity (I believe – can’t find the reference), and the govt would have to pay the calculated amount whether or not power is actually produced. The full mindblowing liabilities are summarised in the govt document linked below. IMHO, signing such a contract would be an act of inconceivable stupidity.

          https://www.gov.uk/government/news/state-aid-approval-for-hinkley-point-c-nuclear-power-plant

          • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

            But if they do sign it, then the question is: who benefits? Cui prodest? Follow the money…

            • GiveADogABone

              The french state who own 85% of EDF and Areva. EDF has to refurbish their aging PWRs in France and it don’t come cheap.

              • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

                Absolutely! Political games.
                If Hinkley Point becomes evidently counter-economical, and the time for reason is ripe, we shall finally be faced with the – true – cost of nuclear fission energy.
                Austria has decommissioned its one plant, and in 2013 it stopped importing nuclear-produced energy https://www.global2000.at/en/node/2504

            • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Agaricus
              • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

                Wow.

        • GiveADogABone

          That is the danger that the politicians have yet to grasp. Mess up the grid and drive customers away and the overheads are spread over fewer businesses and people, so the price rises again and more disconnect or at least minimize their consumption of ‘expensive’ grid electricity, except for the poorest who do not have the money to invest.

          That process is already happening in Germany; the green taxes are tremendous. In the UK industrial bulk consumers of grid electricity have already left for foreign shores.

          Solar was the best way to ‘deinvest’ in the grid but that has stopped because the subsidy has stopped. Domestic CHP is coming (http://www.cerespower.com/ ) which complements solar because solar works in summer and CHP works in winter when you need heating. I am waiting for Ceres Power or Rossi to get their product to market before replacing my boiler. When that happens I will be off the grid in terms of electricity consumption.